Why does “Match Of The Day” not work?

Before I go any further with this I ought to point out that I tend not to watch
the British institution that is MOTD for the simple reasons that I don’t want
to see *every* club because the vast majority do not interest me and having already
spent Saturday afternoon listening to Radio Five Live’s John Murray at the Emirates or
Villa Park or Anfield I know the results!

Anyway, the real reason why I’m writing this is because whilst lying in the bath with
the lights off, I analysed other reasons as to why I don’t tune into BBC1 on a Saturday
night at roughly 10.30pm, like any normal and sane person would also think about
whilst in the bath, of course.

A desk. Not a table. A desk.
Desk is business, office, analytical.
Combatants facing each other.
Yes, facing each other.

Do I really want to see three ex-footballers (whose careers all encompassed
the late eighties/early nineties – cosy, anyone?) leaning back on sofas or comfy chairs?
You may be forgiven for thinking that the most challenging question that arises (off-camera,
needless to say) is what golf course they will play during the week.

The introduction of a desk might, just might, bring some formality to proceedings.

However this would really only work if part two of my plan came into being:
substituting (geddit?!) one of the ‘pundits’ for an articulate, knowledgeable football
journalist. I know finding one might be needle in a haystack time but being the optimist
(at least on this occasion), there has to be one.

For a start, he (could even be a she – you never know) would not have been a professional
footballer (yes I know there are professional footballers with columns in the papers but it is
this whole thing that I trying to get away from) therefore that ‘chuminess’ born of being in
the trenches together would not be so apparent hopefully leading to less backslapping and

Secondly, the journalist would hopefully act as our (“our” meaning the viewers, in this case)
representative in the court of the footballers. Believe it or not BBC and ITV, most of us have
never played professional football so it might just be an idea to employ someone who sees
it more from a viewer’s perspective but is, quite frankly, clever enough to get on the telly
(“Big Brother” excepted).

Thirdly, well, how can I put this? It sort of leads on from the last paragraph:
substituting an ex-footballer for an articulate journalist.
See what I’m getting at….?

I’ve used the word “articulate” at least a couple of times in this piece and there is a reason
for that; what I would absolutely not want is people in the studio who are ‘controversial’,
or to put it another way, not anybody who would generate more heat than light.
That may be entertaining to some but for those of us who have at least a quarter
of a brain it would be ever so dull.

So that’s my recipe for improving the aforementioned British institution that is
Match Of The Day – a respected football journalist (yes, I know) and a desk where
football debate, not poor joke-making, can take place.

It may never quite match the excitement that it brought to me as an eight-year-old
in 1977 having just discovered this thing called “football” but given the fact that
we live in a different world (so to speak) where money has taken much of the romance
and excitement out of the “beautiful game” (obligatory use of that cliché now
out of the way), I think it’s probably the best solution available for now.

Did I mention a desk?


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